"No Patient Left Behind"
Much of the Workshop was devoted to exploring new models in healthcare delivery - the primary focus of this exploration was in discussing current experiences with healthcare information sharing, mainly in the entities called Regional Healthcare Information Organizations or RHIOs. These are sociopolitical organizations that agree to use technology to share clinical, demographic & financial information about patients across a region, such as a county or other bounded geography. The idea is that information is provided at the point of care, regardless of where it comes from across the system. You show up at the emergency room of a hospital in your area that you have never been seen at before, & all of your clinical & relevant personal information is available to the treating clinician. I know, there are a lot of potential privacy & other issues with this - topics for another post... I have been advising on the technology of such a system in Santa Barbara County (CA) for the California Healthcare Foundation (CHCF, http://www.chcf.org/). This system is called SBCCDE (Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange, http://www.sbccde.org/index.html). The development of the CDE software was funded by the CHCF & the system is deployed & should be in active use by the end of this year. There are several RHIO efforts ongoing in Massachusetts. See the material on MA-Share (http://www.mahealthdata.org/ma-share/) Much of the discussion at the Workshop was about the possibilities of success for the RHIO & associated models. The consensus was that doing the right thing would not be enough to ensure success. Healthcare information sharing organizations would have to be successful businesses. There does not appear to be a consensus on what such a model would be & no RHIOs in this country (that I know of) are currently successful businesses, although there are some in Europe & Israel that appear to be. Do you think that information sharing at any geographic level will improve healthcare delivery? Would you prefer to be responsible for your own medical records yourself & carry a hard disk (USB or otherwise) around with you so that they would be available? Should a neutral broker manage your healthcare records & make them available? Let me know what you think - firstname.lastname@example.org